Do you have boxes, envelopes and totes of old photos? Maybe there are letters and other memorabilia with them -- inherited from your parents or grandparents. Along with the boxes come the questions like what do I do with these, where do I even start?
You are not alone! The overwhelm is real, but you do have options. Scanning the photos, negatives, slides, artwork, memorabilia, etc can be one good option for many reasons. Let’s dive into 10 of those reasons.
1. Scanning - Creates a backup
Photos can get torn, scratched, discolored, moldy torn or bent. Those physical photos can last for years if taken care of properly, but a shoebox or a storage tote is not the best place for them.
Scanning your photos allows you to have a backup of all the physical items. Giving you another copy and helping to keep them safe. Once digitized you can put the collection on a jump drive or store online. For backup it is recommended that you use the 3-2-1 method. 3 copies, 2 different types (i.e. jump drive or online) and 1 copy offsite.
2. Scanning - Allows you to downsize if you choose
Once your collection is digital you then have the choice of what to do with the physical stuff. And it is a choice - there is no right or wrong! If you decide to throw them all away -- that’s ok. You may choose to keep and archive your favorites or give the physical copies to family and/or friends. You may turn your new digital photos into new photobooks. There are lots of options, the best is what is right for you and your situation.
3. Scanning - Allows you to get a good copy before they can deteriorate anymore
Every day that our photo collections are stored improperly - in basements, attics or in the old magnetic albums - they run the risk of being damaged. They will begin to deteriorate, discolor and fade. They can become moldy, bent or torn. When they get to this stage it makes it very hard to scan and get a good print. The sooner you take the step of scanning to save them, the better.
4. Scanning - Saves your photo collection from natural disasters
As mentioned, scanning gives you a digital backup, so in the event of a natural disaster or just an everyday accident, like an overflowed bathtub, your photos are safe. The physical prints may get damaged, but you have a restored, digital file that you can make a new print from.
In the event that you have a disaster that involves water damaged photos - don’t assume all is lost! As part of the Photo Managers we have learned techniques to help you recover as many of those photos as we can.
5. Scanning - Allows you to restore/edit any damaged photos
Old photos may be faded, torn, or discolored. Having a digital file will allow you to fix the damage and bring your photo back to life. A digital file can also allow you to make other edits, like cropping, rearranging, adding or removing items from a photo.
6. Scanning - Give you the opportunity to share with family and friends
Now that all your files are digital you can easily share them with your family and friends. You can give them a jump drive with all the digital files or you may choose to use an online service that allows you to not only share among groups of people, but also allows you to collaborate.
This is also a great time to fill in the stories that go with the photos. You may find yourself sharing a favorite photo with a sibling and before you know it the stories just fly out! Get those written down, you will be glad you did.
7. Scanning - Gives you the opportunity to identify the unknown in your photos
In every photo collection you will have photos that you have no idea who or what is in them. Sometimes you can do your own detective work by looking at other photos to figure out time and place, but often you will need help. Here is where sharing with family can help fill in the blanks. Having the collection on an online photo service that allows all members to collaborate can be a good option. Each person can add to the notes or to the metadata of the photos (the who, what, where and when).
You can also add your photos to national online services, like ancestry sites and sometimes you get lucky and distant relatives or maybe even someone from that same town will recognize the people and places in the photo. Making the photo digital and sharing it opens up a lot of options
8. Scanning - Allows you to reunite photos collections that may have gotten separated
When photo collections get handed down in families they often do not go to one person in their entirety. Many times they are split among several family members. Scanning the collection can make it so that each family member can have their own copy. The physical collection may be in different locations, but you can still allow all members to have the full collection if they choose.
Scanning can also allow collections to be shared in situations of family disagreements and/or divorce. Making sure all parties get a copy of the collection if they would like one.
9. Scanning - Makes it easier to sort your collection
There are a lot of computer programs that can help you organize your digital photo collection. Depending on how much sorting you did with the physical collection, your first step might be to use a de-duplication software to get rid of duplicates.
Then there are programs that can help sort your photos into chronological folders. There is also software that can “tag” people, allowing you to isolate that person and collect all the photos of just that person.
At this time you may want to consider adding metadata to your photos. This is adding the who, what, where and when. On old photos you may find some of this information written on the back of the photo or below the photo in an album or scrapbook.
Tagging and adding metadata make it easier to find the photos you need when you want to do a photobook or slideshow or just share the photos with a family member.
10. Scanning - Allows you to make all kinds of photos projects and gifts
Now that your collection is digital, making photo gifts is easy and prices are very reasonable. To create photo books you can use programs like Apple’s iPhoto or Adobe programs or you can use online vendors like Shutterfly, mPix or Mixbook, just to name a few.
In addition, there are other great photo projects to create and share like calendars, canvas or metal prints, puzzles, blankets and slideshows. Having a digital collection allows you to create a project whenever you like.
I hope this article has given you some good reasons to scan your photo collection soon. Whether you choose to do-it-yourself or you would like to contact a professional to take on the task, the Photo Managers can help. https://thephotomanagers.com/
If you would to schedule a free consultation you can email me at:
Tamara Guthard - Photo Manager | Marketing Designer